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beach, a gently sloping zone where deposits of unconsolidated sediments are subject to wave action at the shore of an ocean or lake. Most of the sediment making up a beach is supplied by rivers or by the erosion of highlands adjacent to the coast.

Beaches extend from a low waterline landward to a definite change in material or physiographic form, such as the presence of a cliff or dune complex marking a clear demarcation of the edge of a coast. The surf zone is the area between the landward limit of the waves and where the farthest seaward wave breaks. The foreshore, the active portion of the beach, is a seaward-sloping surface extending from the low tide limit of the beach to the crest of a ridge, called the berm, formed by storm waves. Water motion landward and seaward across the foreshore is called swash and backwash, respectively. The foreshore's slope angle is related to the size of the beach material and the vigor of the waves. The backshore extends landward from the berm as a broad terrace or gently landward-sloping surface, often broken by one or more beach ridges. Seaward of the surf zone is the offshore zone, which commonly contains a trough and an offshore bar where the waves begin to break before reforming and dispensing their energy on the beach. Along low sandy coasts, such as the Eastern coast of the United States, a long, narrow beach, called a barrier beach, is commonly separated from the coast by a narrow lagoon. Where a beach extends from land and terminates in open water it is called a spit or a hook.

Beaches undergo a cyclical migration of sand between the beach and the offshore zone caused by seasonal changes in the supply of sedimentary material and by the changes in intensity and direction of the approaching waves. The action of tides causes daily cycles of cut and fill. Waves approaching the shore obliquely move the sediment along the beach in a zigzag pattern called longshore transport. Since beaches are mobile deposits, they owe their existence to a constant replenishment of sand. In many coastal areas a deficiency in the supply of sand from human intervention or the natural changes in the coastal environment results in serious erosion problems. Artificial replenishment by pumping sand onto the beach from offshore or halting the moving sand from longshore drift by building breakwaters are two solutions to erosional problems.


See W. Bascom, Waves and Beaches: The Dynamics of the Ocean Surface, (1980).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a strip of low-lying shore along tidal seas in a tidal-flat zone. A foreshore forms through the accumulation of fine-sand and silt alluviums that result from differences in the speed and duration of the tides. It gradually grows in width and height until it becomes a surface that is flooded only during high spring tides. Foreshores occur on the shallow margins of tideless seas (such as the Caspian and Aral) as the result of wind-driven waves.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The zone that lies between the ordinary high- and low-watermarks and is daily traversed by the rise and fall of the tide. Also known as beach face.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the part of the shore that lies between the limits for high and low tides
2. the part of the shore that lies just above the high-water mark
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Councillor Ian Roberts Flintshire, County Councillor representing the Flint Castle Ward and Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, said: "Through the in-depth consultation that occurred during the recent research and development project it is evident that there is a real appetite from the people of Flint for innovative development along the Flint Foreshore and a way of bringing people from the Castle into the town - this is another exciting development which will bring a range of benefits." ?
'The DENR has been our longtime collaborator on many activities and they acknowledge that the foreshore area of BML is used in relation to scientific research and training purposes,' she said.
The foreshore flats, seawall and boardwalk would be in a more seaward position than first envisaged after a dispute over the valuation of the Swansea Council-owned cliff face.
Lopez was asked by resort owners in La Union to momentarily suspend the issuances of foreshore lease agreements (FLAs) in an effort to prevent the scramble over prime beach lots in the province, particularly in this town's Barangay Pugo.
Ana and Santos that the mere application for a Foreshore Lease Agreement was sufficient for them to issue the renewal of the port permits.
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Following the meeting, the committee approved the draft resolution on the free access to the beach areas across the foreshore of Issyk-Kul.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline is a major partner of the world-renowned performing arts venue which is located at Bennelong Point on the Sydney Harbour foreshore. - TradeArabia News Service
MORE than 2,000 hectares of the Hoylake, Wallasey and Seaforth foreshores have been recognised as an internationally important area for wildlife.
The event is free for the public, with the general admission section offering its own facilities under the trees on the foreshore. Visitors can bring their own picnic or buy food and beverages from an impressive range of outlets.
A total of seven Year 10 students from the school have been involved in the TTC-led initiative, part funded by UK Steel Enterprise, to create a colourful mosaic featuring a coastal scene to enhance the exterior of seafront businesses located at Saltburn Foreshore.
A highly radioactive lump of metal was found at Dalgety Bay last week and led to the closure of parts of the foreshore on Wednesday.